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Why So Grouchy? Try Smiling! October 15, 2014

Posted by carol in Uncategorized.
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I just found out that today is National Grouch Day! I wish I had known earlier. I could have planned accordingly and put on a frown. Instead I innocently went about the first half of my day, smiling and staying positive. I can’t help it; it is my default look. Someone once said to me, “If you are not smiling, how do you know what your face is doing?” Good point! smileInterestingly, according to an article in the Smithsonian Magazine by Richard Conniff, we can trace the origin of the smile back through more than 30 million years of evolution to the “fear grin,” a meek baring of clenched teeth, common among monkeys and apes. For them, it was a way to say, “Don’t eat me, I’m harmless.” As we evolved, so has the smile. Now, smiling is practically the universal sign of happiness and helpfulness.

The same article said that evidence suggests that people who smile a lot tend to be happier and more successful in life than those who don’t smile, and that the physical act of smiling actually makes people feel better. The best part–it’s downright contagious! Any chance this could be the only thing we pass on to others during this cold and flu season?

Until next time, keep smiling!

~Carol

Why DIY? October 7, 2014

Posted by carol in Uncategorized.
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It’s officially Fall and so if trapped inside on colder, rainier days, I find myself looking at bare walls, shabbier pieces of furniture, and worn throw pillows and I start to think, “I can make decorating improvements without spending big bucks to replace this stuff.” And then, I usually rummage around for some paint!

Paintbrush with Blue PaintLast weekend, I spray-painted a wooden row of hooks that had seen better days. Now it is shiny dark blue and looks practically brand-new. Hanging on the bedroom wall, it downright invites clothes and towels to be hung, rather than flung to the floor. I liked filling the space on the wall so much, I then created my own custom art with stencils on two canvas stretchers. Previously, I made a headboard out of an art canvas, fabric and batting. I got that idea out of the book Young House Love by Sherry & John Petersik, the genius minds behind http://www.younghouselove.com/

My techniques are not perfect and not always successful. You’ll notice that I’ve not included photos of my projects, and (true confession) there are some unfinished, unsuccessful upholstery projects still hiding out in my garage. My wall art will never compete with the masters, and my headboard won’t last forever. I have no delusions of grandeur here.

That said, why do we DIY?

For me, it is about the sense of accomplishment that doing it myself gives me. I can look at my completed work and think, “I made that!” Or, perhaps, it’s simply because it is so much fun to play with paint and glue. Yes, I’d rather have my walls filled with art by fabulous, talented artists and magnificent masterpieces.

Until the lotto calls, though, I will continue to make my own. Happy Crafting!

~Carol

What to watch? How about a MASTERPIECE? October 1, 2014

Posted by carol in Uncategorized.
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 If you are anything like me, when you have the house to yourself for a day or two, you want to get some housework done, do some reading, and maybe find some time to plop down and enjoy a good program. This is a new era of television viewing, though. We can choose what to watch, when to watch it, and what device with which to stream it. Like you, my free time is precious to me and not to be wasted. So, how do I choose what to watch?

For me, it always comes down to choosing a “MASTERPIECE.” PBS’s MASTERPIECE is known for its high-quality adaptations of classics, mysteries, and contemporary literature. Knowing that when I spend my time watching a MASTERPIECE Mystery, I’ll be surrounded by memorable characters, smart storylines, and beautiful costuming and set designs, keeps me going back again and again. In 2011, MASTERPIECE celebrated its 40th Anniversary, making it the longest-running prime time drama in American television!

I’m guessing you might have already heard of award-winning MASTERPIECE programs like Downton Abbey and Sherlock! If you are looking to branch out, I’ll share my current obsession, a collection of three shows unified by characters, place, and crime, all courtesy of MASTERPIECE Mystery, of course.

  • Inspector Morse — Based on a series of novels by Colin Dexter, Inspector Morse stars John Thaw as opera-loving Chief Inspector Morse, and Kevin Whately as his working-class partner, Sergeant Robert Lewis. As the duo solve murder cases in and around Oxford University as members of the Oxford City Police, Morse’s drinking and past relationship problems make him a bit of a tragic character. This series originally ran between 1987 and 2000. While the early episodes can feel a bit dated, they are worth re-watching.
  • Inspector Lewis — In this sequel series to Inspector Morse, Kevin Whately is back as Inspector Robert (Robbie) Lewis and is assigned to work with the younger, cerebral Detective Sergeant Hathaway (Laurence Fox), after the death of Morse. These police procedurals feature Robbie’s ups and downs as he struggles with widowhood, his workaholic tendencies, and his attempts at new love. Hathaway is an interesting character as well, having left the seminary to pursue police work. This show will air its eighth season Sundays this October. You can be sure I will be watching.
  • Endeavour — In this prequel to Inspector Morse, Shaun Evans portrays a young Endeavour Morse at the beginning his career as a Detective Constable with the Oxford City Police Criminal Investigation Department. Set in the early to mid-1960s, this show is a delectable period mystery series and reveals Endeavour Morse’s back-story (and his first name)! So far, this series has just two seasons, with a third in the works. I’m hooked!

Oh, now you want to watch them too? Great! You can find more information on these and other Masterpiece programs (and even watch some of them online) at: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/masterpiece/watch-online/

You can stream several free seasons of Inspector Lewis and Inspector Morse through Hoopla here: https://www.hoopladigital.com/home;jsessionid=A128733F054F82E55E33C203451AE0F7 (use your RRPL library card number and an email address to create your free account).

Or, check them out in DVD format from Rocky River Public Library. Come take a look at our shelves or search our catalog for these and other MASTERPIECE shows here https://rrpl.sirsi.net

Stream wisely my friends.

~Carol

Get your music on September 25, 2014

Posted by Steve in Music, Uncategorized.
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I know most of you probably have this circled on your calendar already, but if not, let me remind you that Thursday , September 25th is One-Hit Wonder Day! Yes, there is a day for just about everything, but hey at least this is a fun one, and you don’t need to buy anyone a gift for it either. One-Hit Wonder Day was started in 1990 by music writer Steven Rosen. There is really no consensus on what constitutes a one-hit wonder, although you can check out this article from Huffington Post on some ideas: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/24/national-one-hit-wonder-day-2012_n_1904606.html.

What is your favorite one-hit wonder? Maybe “Tainted Love,” by Soft Cell, or “Steal My Sunshine,” by LEN? Chances are whatever it is we have it in our collection, either on CD or available in hoopla for streaming!

-Steve

Play Ball! September 12, 2014

Posted by Steve in Uncategorized.
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So it seems once again the Tribe is in the playoff hunt.  Now if they could just get some consistency and save us all the anxiety of these ups and downs things would be great!  I’ll hope for the best, and to keep my spirits up I’ll keep some baseball movies close at hand.  Did you know that 2014 marks the 25th anniversary of the classic Major League, starring a very young Charlie Sheen.  Also celebrating its 25th anniversary is Kevin Costner’s Field of Dreams.  Other great hits on my best of list include Bull Durham, A League of Their Own, Eight Men Out, Moneyball, The Bad News Bears (the original) and The Sandlot.  Did I miss any, can you add something to the list?  All the titles that I mentioned can be checked out here, so stop on over and grab one of these free treasures.  Now that’s a grand slam!

-Steve

Watch this documentary! September 2, 2014

Posted by Steve in Movies, Non-Fiction, Uncategorized.
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The other day while I was looking for an item for a patron, I stumbled across a movie that I had long ago meant to see. The documentary, My Date with Drew, is an exceptional story that finds aspiring filmmaker Brian Herzlinger on a quest to get a date with his boyhood crush, Drew Barrymore, in 30 days. He is flat broke, but has just won $1100 on a game show. Foregoing paying his bills, he decides to buy a camera at Circuit City, which he will be returning using their 30 day return policy, and document his efforts to score a date with Drew.  The $1100 of winnings goes to such creative ideas as making a website and movie trailer to help him get tips on getting the date, and even to forge press passes to get into the Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle after party.  And using his and his friends’ limited connections in the movie business, it is fascinating to see the six degrees of separation principal at work. Give the first 15 minutes or so a chance, which admittedly are pretty cheesy, because the rest is well worth the ride. And be sure to check out the bonus features detailing their efforts to find a distributor.

- Steve

Latest Additions May 19, 2014

Posted by stacey in Fiction, Uncategorized.
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Okay. Done with the rain! How lucky there are so many fun books to read! And boy oh boy, have I been reading. Eventually, I even hope to add some of the books I’ve recently finished into The Reading Room -like my very diligent colleagues have been doing. Would you like to see some of the what’s been newly added?

I’ve Got You Under My Skinby Mary Higgins Clark
Lexicon by Max Barry
The Universe Versus Alex WoodsGavin Extence
Astonish Me by Maggie Shipstead
Mercy Snow by Tiffany Baker

Don’t forget -you’ll need some extra books this week to last over Memorial Day next week… See you soon!

 — Stacey

Tuesday at the Movies April 8, 2014

Posted by Dori in Uncategorized.
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wordpressreelimageSpring has sprung and days are getting busier, leaving very little time to catch up on movies, so no movie review this week, I’m afraid.

MOVIE SHOWING: The Indie Int’l Film Fest is back on Monday, April 13th at 6:3o pm with Tanta Agua, a film from Uruguay about a father who takes his two children on vacation at a resort. When they are met with days of rain, he tries to entertain them, but his efforts are met with indifference.

New movie releases 4-8-14:

The Hobbit: the Desolation of SmaugDVD and Blu-Ray: the second installment of Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy.
HomefrontDVD and Blu-Ray: an ex-DEA agent retires to a quiet Southern town with his ten-year-old daughter and discovers that the idyllic setting is riddled with drugs and violence.
Grudge MatchDVD and Blu-Ray: Robert DeNiro and Sylvester Stallone star as two old boxing rivals who come out of retirement for one final match.
Paranormal Activity: the Marked OnesDVD and Blu-Ray: the demons return…
August: Osage CountyDVD and Blu-Ray: Both Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts were nominated for Oscars for their performances in this movie about a Midwestern family and the dysfunctional woman who raised them.
A Touch of Sin - DVD: a film from China inspired by true events that focuses on four characters who are driven to violent ends. Winner of the 2013 Cannes Winner for Best Screenplay.

Happy Watching!

~ Dori

 

Latest Additions January 13, 2014

Posted by stacey in Uncategorized.
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Last week’s chilly weather + a broken heating coil = good time to read! But now it’s so pretty out! Yeesh. Who can keep up with this crazy roller-coaster ride Mother Nature has provided? Who?! How lucky there are new books to check out -just in case it gets cold again! Would you like to sample one of these books that have recently been added to The Reading Room? Good choice!

Death of a Nightingale by Lene Kaaberbol
Reality Boy by A.S. King
We Are Water by Wally Lamb
The Day the World Came to Town: 9/11 in Gander, Newfoundland by Jim DeFede
Havisham by Ronald Frame

Enjoy!

— Stacey

Top Ten of 2013 December 20, 2013

Posted by Steve in Book List, Fiction, Non-Fiction, Top Ten, Uncategorized.
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Here’s my top 10, heavy on historical non-fiction titles, but there are a couple from other genres for good measure.

Killing Lincoln: the shocking assassination that changed America forever,  by Bill O’Reilly. Balanced account of the end of the Civil War, Lincoln’s assassination and the hunt for the killers.

The Civil War: a concise history, by Louis P. Masur. Brush up on your Civil War knowledge with this little gem.

Killing Kennedy: the end of Camelot, by Bill O’Reilly.  Lots of Kennedy family history, warts and all, leading up to the sad end.

Destiny of the Republic: a tale of madness, medicine and the murder of a president, by Candice Millard. A fascinating look into Garfield’s life, and life in the late 1800’s.

Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the opening of the American West, by Stephen Ambrose.  Ultimately a bio of Lewis, but you will feel like you were along for the adventure in this detailed book.

Francona: the Red Sox years, by Terry Francona. Nice insight into the Tribe’s manager, and the workings of a major market team.

Not Taco Bell material, by Adam Carolla. Very funny biography, not for the easily offended.

11/22/63: a novel, by Stephen King.  Time travel, suspense and alternate history abound in this monster sized book.

Donnybrook, by Bill Frank. Follow  underworld methheads and bareknuckle fighters in this adrenaline packed story.

Defending Jacob: a novel, by William Landay. Suspenseful, twisting, but very bleak.

- Steve

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